Fifteen Minutes of Shame

07.2.2009 | 12:54 am

A Note from Fatty: Thanks to everyone who commented yesterday and thanks especially to the dozens of people who sent email volunteering to help out with plane vouchers. Susan took much less pain medication on Tuesday, and the nausea stopped. Susan spent most of the day sleeping. Since the pain is much worse when she moves, we agreed that she should stay in bed yesterday. We’ll take each day as it comes as to what to do next.

Yesterday (Tuesday), for the first time since I was in college, I went to court. Back in college I went because I heard you could get the fine for a speeding ticket reduced just by showing up, and back then I had more time than money.

This time, I went because Dug and I had thrown a rock off Vertigo Void during last RAWROD (and Brandon had captured the moment on video with his Blackberry), and a court appearance was mandatory.

The Part About Throwing Rocks Off Cliffs

Before I got a call from the Park Service on May 18, I had no idea that throwing a rock off a cliff was an illegal act.

Well, it is. And there are good reasons, too.

  • You could hit a person
  • You could hit an animal
  • You could hit something of historical significance, like a rock carving

Now, when Dug and I had thrown that rock off Vertigo void, I had perfect confidence — it’s an overhang, not a cliff, with a clear view of the area where the rock will land — that we would not hit a person or any animal larger than a chipmunk (by the way, a chipmunk has made its home in my garage, and I would appreciate tips on getting it to relocate).

But could there have been rock carvings I hit and ruined without knowing? Yes. And that makes me feel bad. I’m never tossing another rock off Vertigo Void or elsewhere. Because it’s not legal, and because it’s possible to do real damage to something valuable you don’t even know exists.

The Part Before the Hearing

After talking with the ranger the first time, I started thinking about what I had done. I really didn’t like the idea of damaging anyone or anything.

So I called the ranger back.

I told him that I have a blog (it turns out he already knew, even though it didn’t come up in our first conversation, since the rock tossing didn’t appear or ever get mentioned in this blog, and in fact I hadn’t known it was even filmed ’til after the ranger called). And I told him that if his aim was to get the word out that this was a bad idea and that it’s illegal, that I could help. I told him that I’d talk about it in my blog. I told him that this could turn out to be a good thing, that I could be his partner in stopping what he clearly sees as a serious problem.

Perhaps, in return, I said, he could recommend that instead of a court date — which he had strongly hinted was otherwise looming — he could send over whatever stiff fine he felt was warranted, and let me use my time to further his cause instead of going to court.

The ranger told me he appreciated the thought and I’d see something in the mail one way or another within the next couple weeks.

200907020045.jpgThe Part About the Hearing

Of course, we got summoned to court. So yesterday, dressed in our Sunday best, Brandon, Dug and I carpooled over to the court in Salt Lake (the ranger had considerately arranged it to be close to where I live because of Susan’s sickness, and I really appreciate it).

As we drove over, we all wondered aloud the same thing: “What special thing do they want from us that can only be obtained in a court?” All three of us had already admitted our part. All three of us said we’d pay a fine if sent one.

I speculated that they were going to press for some very specific things for me to talk about in this blog. That I would make it a primary focus. That there would be interviews. That there would be so many words, so many installments, so many case studies.

We arrived an hour early, and continued to speculate. We had heard that the prosecuting attorney might want to talk with us prior to the hearing, so we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to cooperate and hopefully not have to pay the full $500 fine (each!) we had heard they’d be pressing for. And come to consensus on exactly how much and what topics I’d cover in this blog.

200907020047.jpg When the door opened, we went in and sat down. Then a guy in a suit came in, laughing. Hard. He asked us if we were the guys who threw rocks off cliffs.

I refrained from saying, “you mean allegedly.” My brain-mouth filter was on at 110%.

He then introduced himself as our court-appointed attorney.

Wait. We get an attorney? Awesome. I think.

Anyways, our attorney said he got an email about this case yesterday and ran around the whole office, showing it to everyone. They all thought it was the most hilarious thing they had ever seen. He really really really wanted us to go with “not guilty,” so he could take it to trial. But yeah, we’d have to come back for another day in the courtroom. Saying “No Contest” meant we could pay the fine and be done with it.

At that point, the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney started their pre-hearing negotiating. “We’re going for $200 each, because this was an outrageous offense by these three mature adults,” said the prosecutor.

The defense guy started laughing his head off. “I’m asking for no fine at all. Everyone throws rocks off cliffs. Until I saw this email, I didn’t know it’s illegal.”

And then, the prosecutor said that the ranger had asked for “something about someone writing something in a blog or whatever those Internet things are called, but I’m not going to bother asking for that.”

The prosecutor then made some sort of dig at the defense attorney that I’m still trying to parse: “Is it true that before work every day, defense lawyers go into a dark closet and laugh for an hour?”

It was both cliche and baffling. How is that possible?

I looked over at Dug to see how he was reacting, and noticed he was biting his tongue so hard that blood was coming out of both corners of his mouth.

Then the hearing itself started. The prosecutor asked for $200 from each of us, the defender told a story about how last weekend he and his whole scout troop had been chucking rocks off cliffs.

The judge said he was going to give us the “collateral” fine, which was $50, plus the $10 processing fee. $60 each.

Then the court clerk guy (quite possible that’s not his official title) chimed in, saying there’d be an additional $25 fee having to do with something about this originating from the Canyonlands.

“What?!” said the judge. I may be reading unintended emotion into this, but it seemed to me that he found the idea of $85 per person ridiculous. “They should each pay a total fine of $60,” concluded the judge.

And it was over. The prosecutor vanished quickly, having successfully garnered 1/8 of what he was asking for and 1/10 what I had been prepared to pay if they had just sent a ticket.

Of course, I still started this post by telling the truth: I’m never throwing rocks off cliffs again. But that’s because I really think the ranger was a good guy doing the right things for the right reasons.

But they could have accomplished — and got — a lot more if they had thought about having a penitent partner, instead of what amounted to 15 minutes in court and a tiny fine ($180, total), which the ranger earned with what looks like around 100 hours or so of research, interviews and investigative work.

Miscellaneous Interesting Facts

As our parting court gifts, we were each given a CD with photos of Vertigo Void and a printout of all the ranger’s notes. Which means that all of the following information is now part of an official court document:

  1. “RAWROD stands for Ride Around the White Rim in One Day.”
  2. Vertigo Void is named such because “When a person lays down on the overhanging rock surface with his or her head beyond the edge, the person can look straigth down approximately 400 feet to the floor of the box canyon and underneath the overhang into the eroded void. This action often produces a sensation of vertigo.”
  3. “‘Fatty’ is the nickname of Elden Clyde NELSON of Alpine, UT.”
  4. “ANDERSON is seen in the video wearing a green bicycling jersey with a white star on the back and plaid shorts.” (Note: am I the only one who thinks that this, too, should have been a misdemeanor? At least?)
  5. “NELSON was unwilling to disclose the name of the other person who helped him throw the rock over the cliff because it did not feel right to him to do so.”
  6. “NELSON said he and ANDERSON are best friends.”
  7. Anderson says “He knows NELSON pretty well.”
  8. “ANDERSON is a conservationist.”
  9. “The possibility of archeological site damage makes [ANDERSON] feel a little bit bad.”
  10. “SMITH inquired as to whether there is any option for SMITH to receive a $50 citation and a warning and denounce the activity on his blog instead of going to court.” (Note: if the ranger had gone along with this, Brandon would have wound up paying $25 more than we did after going to court, once you factor in the $35 worth of fees he would have gotten with that citation.)

PS: Last night Lance Armstrong posted a really thoughtful tweet, which was followed by dozens of retweets. Thanks very much to all of you.   


  1. Comment by msykes | 07.2.2009 | 1:15 am

    Wait, I’m still confused. Throwing rocks off a cliff is illegal? Can I still throw rocks off hills and out of trees?

  2. Comment by buckythedonkey | 07.2.2009 | 1:15 am



  3. Comment by msykes | 07.2.2009 | 1:21 am

    Okay, apparently throwing rocks off cliffs really is a bad idea – though I will note that the people in this incident did NOT establish line of sight to the ground before doing so, which Fatty & Co did.

    Unlike Fatty & Co, they were also not charged with a crime. Also, I do not recommend anybody else Googling for information about rocks and cliffs. I tried to find some information about the law, but all I ended up with were horrifying stories like the above linked one.

  4. Comment by Philly Jen | 07.2.2009 | 1:46 am

    So much for security through obscurity.

    @ Whoever ratted Fatty out to the Park Service:
    Since you seem to be particularly fond of following links on this site, I think that you will find Seth Meyers’ commentary on Michael Phelps germaine here. Note particularly the final sentence. Thank you.

  5. Comment by Saso | 07.2.2009 | 1:52 am

    It is really satisfying to see that justice prevails in the USA! Being from a country with different legal system, this story seems so comically absurd to me. I cant stop laughing. I will spread this story around, it is hilarious.

    You have been a very naughty boy Elden!

  6. Comment by NW Bicyclist | 07.2.2009 | 2:08 am

    This has to be the most outrageous thing I have ever heard! I live in Ohio, but if I ever go to Utah, I am going to throw a rock off a cliff and plead not guilty, just to see it get sent to a long, drawn out trial. Can you throw pebbles or roll boulders off cliffs? Technically, those are not rocks.

  7. Comment by Grayduncs | 07.2.2009 | 2:23 am

    You missed a trick there Fatty. You should have told the Ranger that the third figure in the video (on the grassy knoll?) was the chipmunk currently hiding out in your garage. Then they would have come and got said chipmunk to take it to appear in court. Chipmunk removed and court scene has added furry fun.

  8. Comment by mc | 07.2.2009 | 2:26 am

    oh fatty nice try. we all know that is Stanley Tucci in the photo above.

    hugs to you and Susan. Am even more committed to raising funds for my Philly ride since reading the past two days

  9. Comment by Mark Kynaston | 07.2.2009 | 2:47 am


    Do you get a criminal record along with the fine?

    Talk about a waste of money! Have people no common sense these days? All the time and expense involved in this could have been put to so much better use – fighting cancer for a start.

    If the powers that be had given it some thought and used even an ounce of common sense they could easily have persuaded you and the others to make a donation to a suitable charity of their choice in lieu of a fine and taken you up on your blogging offer at practically no cost other than a few phone calls and e-mails.

    Best wishes to Susan – I hope she is more comfortable now and things improve further over the next few days.

  10. Comment by Amy | 07.2.2009 | 4:44 am

    If you think about it–as he obviously now has–it makes a lot of sense that people shouldn’t be allowed to throw things off cliffs. I was in Bryce Canyon once–it was filled with hikers–and these teenagers were pushing mounds of dirt and rocks off the delicate cliffs. Not only could they have hurt anything below, including lots of hikers, it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out that if enough people did that, it would mess up the park and paths. I yelled at them and they stopped. I felt like a killjoy, but after reading this column, now I’m glad I said something. It all falls under the same reasoning why you shouldn’t throw things off buildings or bridges (i.e.Dave Matthews Band dumping bus bathroom waste(knowingly or not) into the river and all over some poor boaters. How would you like to get hit with that?!

  11. Comment by Mike Roadie | 07.2.2009 | 5:14 am

    Reminds me of the Alice’s Restaurant Thanksgiving Day Great Massa-cree.

    At least we learned about Clyde!


    Do not do anything illegal this weekend!

    Have a safe 4th!

  12. Comment by bikemike | 07.2.2009 | 5:30 am

    reminds me of Mr. Carlson on WKRP in Cincinnati, throwing live turkeys out of a helicopter, on Thanksgiving Day, thinking they could fly. i’m guessing you guys thought rocks could fly, that’s the defense i would’ve used.

  13. Comment by Kala | 07.2.2009 | 5:54 am

    Wow. This is just…. haha, too much! I was also not aware that throwing rocks off of cliffs was illegal!

  14. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 07.2.2009 | 6:06 am

    Ha! I’m glad to learn from your situation too – no throwing rocks where important things might be damaged. Good to know. I’m also happy that you didn’t have to pay too much for the fine.

    I’m touched by Lance’s tweet. It’s amazing that so many people out there are pulling for Susan. You both deserve all the support in the world!

  15. Comment by ses | 07.2.2009 | 6:16 am

    I know it’s easy to make fun of this situation, but trundling is a serious act (yea, there really is a word for throwing rocks off cliffs!) As a climber, trundling is a serious concern for me.

    Just last year, a NOLS instructor was killed by such an act. Terrible situation for both the family of the victim and also the trundler, who has to live with the pain of accidently killing someone.

    Just something to think about when you’re innocently hucking rocks off a cliff.

  16. Comment by Bjorn 4Lycra | 07.2.2009 | 6:47 am

    Good to know the law is an ass all over the world. Regards the rock throwing I believe there was some discourse here at the time on the merits of throwing rocks off cliffs in National Parks. I think most were against but nobody mentioned it was illegal.

    I wrote an incredibly insightful, articulate and truly inspiring post to the South West Airlines site and it has not appeared. Well maybe it was not actually that good in truth but I was wondering if anybody else has had the same experience. I probably did something wrong but maybe I was just blocked. Anyhow congrats to all those who did get their message across. WIN Susan really cheering for you at present.

  17. Comment by Bjorn 4Lycra | 07.2.2009 | 7:01 am

    OOps just checked back and my post is on the South West Site – great flying colours by the way.

  18. Comment by Lana | 07.2.2009 | 7:12 am

    Re Chipmunk removal / deterrent – I use mothballs – it works if you can throw them down their burrow, they don’t like the smell (keep away from the kids though). If you are going for a more permanent solution, I recommend rat traps with small amounts of peanut /almond butter as a lure.

  19. Comment by GenghisKhan | 07.2.2009 | 7:13 am

    Had you climbed on Dug’s back and then thrown the rocks, would it have been a loop hole since you wouldn’t have been throwing rocks off of a cliff, but rather off of Dug’s back? Just a thought for next time.

  20. Comment by MikeonHisBike | 07.2.2009 | 7:18 am

    I’m coming to Utah this summer to visit the inlaws. They have plenty of rocks in their backyard. I’m not even going to go near them. In fact, I’m planning on telling the kids repeatedly “Kids, stay away from the rocks!”

  21. Comment by PennyPue | 07.2.2009 | 8:07 am

    Now the real question, can you figure out a way to make your fine tax deductible as a business expense?

    I was HOOTING with laughter at work.
    Fortunately, my coworkers already think I’m nuts.

  22. Comment by Rantwick | 07.2.2009 | 8:12 am

    Although the prosecutor wasn’t interested in blog-promotes-rock-throwing-awareness style of justice, you pretty much did it anyway with this. Now that’s a Clyde kind of move. Well done.

  23. Comment by Micheal Green | 07.2.2009 | 9:02 am

    That made my morning.

    Note to self: Feel remorse for all the rocks I’ve “allegedly” thrown off cliffs.

  24. Comment by Bitter (formerly known as Lissee) | 07.2.2009 | 9:02 am

    I’ll second the peanut butter suggestion for the chipmunk. I caught 13 squirrels and one very large field mouse/ rat with peanut butter.

    I used a live trap and transported them a mile away. (They were eating my garden.)

  25. Comment by Rob | 07.2.2009 | 9:04 am

    So you ARE anti-chipmunk, and you may or may not have been trying to possibly kill or “relocate” the chipmunk by dropping those rocks?

  26. Comment by Brandon S. | 07.2.2009 | 9:06 am

    I did like the nice gift cd-rom we all received complete with 20 pictures of the cliff. Hope Susan feels better.

  27. Comment by 331miles | 07.2.2009 | 9:10 am

    You did the right thing by owning up to what you did and trying to turn it into something that will educate others. It’s too bad our justice system can’t get it’s collective head wrapped around an attitude like yours.

    Note: I’m surprised at how many commenters think it is acceptable to throw rocks off of cliffs in parks or natural areas, despite the obvious danger to others and the cumulative negative affect on the landscape.

  28. Comment by Bitter (formerly known as Lissee) | 07.2.2009 | 9:13 am

    I need to actually start reading to the end of a post before I comment. lol Thanks for the early morning entertainment! :)

    I especially like the fact that the list of ranger notes are a matter of record.

  29. Comment by fish | 07.2.2009 | 9:22 am

    Give me a call – I’ll take care of your chipmunk.

  30. Comment by Lowrydr | 07.2.2009 | 9:26 am

    Chipmunk problem – live trap and peanut butter then move it over to Dug’s.
    Throwing the rock was his idea, right Clyde?

    Hoping for better days for Susan, you and the family.

  31. Comment by JET | 07.2.2009 | 9:28 am

    Ridiculous. Must’ve been from the same park ranger school as the one that cited me for parking too close to a fire gate. You had to be at least 30 feet away from it. I was about 29.8 feet from it. He was actually measuring when I came back to my truck.

  32. Comment by Lowrydr | 07.2.2009 | 9:28 am

    Oh yea, you better check on laws about relocating wild life before you let it go somewhere else.

  33. Comment by KanyonKris | 07.2.2009 | 9:30 am


    dug is a conservationist?

    In the photo Elden has his hand on dug’s should as a warm show of friendship and support. dug’s hands are stuffed in his pockets. “Your Honor, I only know NELSON pretty well.”

  34. Comment by m00se | 07.2.2009 | 9:37 am

    Fatty –

    Something that might work for your rodentia problem you might already have around your house. Apparently, rodents like mice and chipmunks don’t like Bounce Dryer Sheets.

    No joke!

    Put a few around the garage, especially in areas where your little house-guest is nesting, and hopefully, that should do the trick. We put sheets under the sink every couple of months where the mice like to come in during the winter, and we haven’t had an issue with it since.

    Cheers! Win Susan!


  35. Comment by russ | 07.2.2009 | 9:50 am

    So Fatty is Dugs best friend but Dug only knows Fatty “pretty well”.
    Somethings not right. I think Dug turned and went States evidence.

  36. Comment by Garmon | 07.2.2009 | 9:53 am

    Ok I’m dying, laughing… been there, done that, several years ago.

    We were confronted back at the Island in the Sky ranger station after finishing the White Rim. The ranger was out on an overlook with his parents; they had come out for his birthday. He was using the binoculars they had just given him for his birthday present, which enabled him to clearly identify the rock-rollers.

    We got off with a lecture, and a show of regret on our part. I thought we were the only ones. I’m surprised there’s still boulders along that cliff. (Well, except for that one that’s just too big.)

    Of course, I now see the folly of our ways, and being older and wiser, would NEVER do such a thing again.

    WIN SUSAN!!!

  37. Comment by Dr Codfish | 07.2.2009 | 9:55 am

    Yikes, an admitted trundler, has a creey ring to it. Better stay in good graces with Burton group, good luck getting on with someone else with that on your rap sheet.

    Yr pal, Dr C.

  38. Comment by Aaron | 07.2.2009 | 9:57 am

    Alright, so now I feel bad for blasting the ranger in my comment on Dug’s post. I still think he was being a little overzealous though, and wasted a bunch of time and money because of it. Now I kind’a wish he would have chosen to prosecute me as well, just so I could have seen Dug biting his tongue in the middle of the proceedings!

  39. Comment by Clydesteve | 07.2.2009 | 10:03 am

    Elden, I have a question. Why do so many people seem to get merriment from your now-revealed middle name? I just don’t get it. It seems shortened, but nice.

  40. Comment by Anonymous | 07.2.2009 | 10:15 am

    Next time I’m in Canyonlands you know exaclty what I”m going to do…

    “Watch out below!”

  41. Comment by steve | 07.2.2009 | 10:39 am

    Trying to read too fast, I read it: ANDERSON a “conversationalist.” I lauged out loud.

  42. Comment by Dr. Lammler | 07.2.2009 | 10:40 am

    If the prosecutor had gone for the blog option this could have been a sealed case. Instead, the prosecutor doggedly pursued a conviction and, now, this is all public record.

    Where is the video?

    The people have a right to know.

  43. Comment by Rob M. | 07.2.2009 | 10:48 am

    Several years ago, I was hiking down the trail in the Grand Canyon and heard rocks coming down the ledge. I quickly grabbed the wall and started shouting above that it wasn’t funny, it was dangerous, to knock it off, etc.

    I was steamed.

    Then I noticed the offending trundlers were a pair of Big Horn Sheep.

    Where are the Rangers when you need them?

  44. Comment by Erin | 07.2.2009 | 11:29 am

    I guess you and ANDERSON have a lot to talk about, huh?

    USFS, FTW! Or the moral victory. Or?

  45. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 07.2.2009 | 11:30 am

    That was so funny! My dad would totally be on the ranger’s side. I have sent this around my office to make sure we’re all slacking off sufficiently before our holiday weekend.

  46. Comment by The Incredible Woody | 07.2.2009 | 11:32 am

    My Dad warned me about people like you.

  47. Comment by eber | 07.2.2009 | 11:44 am

    “ANDERSON is a conservationist”

    Right. What that means is he rides slowly to Vertigo Void so as to conserve enough energy to huck large rocks over the edge.

  48. Comment by Truman Soloist | 07.2.2009 | 11:48 am

    I thought I heard the sound of a cosmic clash of realities. Guess it was not just my imagination. Congratulations for having navigated the legal system with only minor abrasions to show for it.

  49. Comment by JT | 07.2.2009 | 11:58 am

    I’m with the prosecutor on this one. Why would he care about having someone like Fatty getting behind the ranger’s cause? I mean, take a look at what happened when Fatty started organizing this whole “fight against cancer” thingy with Team Fatty. Seriously, just 400 people have joined up and raised more than $340,000 in the past six months. Trivial.

    Yes, very very wise of the prosecutor to hone in on that $200 fine. Way to take the long view, dude.

  50. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 07.2.2009 | 12:15 pm

    The park ranger definitely got the short end of this deal…hope he learns to trust people a bit more. A collaboration with you would have made a world of difference. People.

  51. Comment by Kt | 07.2.2009 | 1:05 pm

    Clyde isn’t Elden’s actual middle name, it’s a clever take on the “Fatty” theme.

    And why is Stanley Tucci wearing Elden’s suit?? That guy thinks he can do whatever he wants because he’s a Big Star or something!

    Did you go on a ride after your court date?

    WIN, Susan!!!

    (on a somber note, my partner’s grandmother is in the hospital again, the cancer has perforated her bowels and the docs don’t think they can do anything further but make her comfortable. So he’s driving 200 miles to say goodbye today.)

  52. Comment by GenghisKhan | 07.2.2009 | 1:32 pm

    Elden’s full, legal name is Elden Clyde Stanley “The Tooch” Dale Nelson. So, Kt is on the right track…

  53. Comment by Hilslug | 07.2.2009 | 2:14 pm

    Would you have been ticketed if you had thrown the chipmonk off the cliff rather than a rock? Just kidding, animal lovers. . .

  54. Comment by Jeff L. | 07.2.2009 | 4:11 pm

    I don’t mean to be a downer, but trundling isn’t something to make light of. I know one person that has been injured (broken bone) accidentally by kids rolling rocks down a steep drop off. I’ve read of several others accidentally killed. There was an article in Outside Magazine not to long ago addressing one such story. Also, my father is retired from the National Park Service and has told me how damaging it can be in parks (erosion, damaged to indian dwellings, damage to trails, etc). Fatty…I’m glad you fessed up and were willing to make ammends. All those who think this is funny…it’s really not.

    Also, 90% of people don’t know anything about blogs or what they are, even this one (they are missing out, I know). So, I’m not surprised they didn’t pursue that option in sentencing, as valuable as it would be.

  55. Comment by Jeff L. | 07.2.2009 | 4:15 pm

    Read the story linked in the third comment…it will change your perspective about his. That was the article featured in Outside, I believe.

  56. Comment by Bob B | 07.2.2009 | 4:23 pm

    Wow. First, if there are cave drawings below Vertigo Void, they are long gone. People have been hucking rocks off that cliff daily for years. Second, this story should have been straight comedy, cave drawings or no, but after reading about the 47-year-old climber who got killed by a rock thrown from above, I got sick to my stomach. I’ll never throw a rock off a cliff. I would say “again,” but that would be ridiculous, since — for the record — I have never, ever, thrown a rock off a cliff.

  57. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 07.2.2009 | 4:58 pm

    I can’t believe you guys were wearing your Sunday best on a Thursday. What other weird rituals to you carry out in Utah?

    But on the upside, at least you guys were looking after the environment by carpooling to your court date. It’s the least you could do for the environment after such a reckless act of vandalism.

  58. Comment by Triflefat | 07.2.2009 | 5:10 pm

    Was respondent Anderson concealing another display of his ambidextral bird-flipping to respondent Nelson in the pre-trial photos, knowing full well he had already ratted him to the feds?

  59. Comment by jameasmallon | 07.2.2009 | 5:54 pm

    I appreciate your attitude. Since you are contrite, and did establish line of sight, you are very much not a tool. Whoever sent in your video is, as is the Prosecutor. The guy who ratted you out could simply have first sent you his concerns. If you’d been another person (an unapologetic dick) he might then have considered ratting.

    I climb a tonne and there are many places I just won’t go because there is a hiking trail at the top. If it’s not dogs knocking stuff over, it’s the threat of people knocking rocks over, or falling over themselves as they walk on your gear and yell over the ledge about how cool climbing is. Almost all climbing accidents are at the end of a climb, or from rock fall. The latter too often by non-participants. There is a reason climbing helmets are most thickly padded at the top.

  60. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 07.2.2009 | 5:57 pm

    If this weren’t so bizarre, I’d think you were making it up.

    So, is that a $60.00 fine for EACH rock you’ve ever chucked off Vertigo Void? ’cause if so…

    Were you tempted to rat out everyone you’ve ever seen chuck a rock off vertvoid? Oh,the cast of characters I’ve seen perpetrate that crime at that spot. I would have been tempted to haul half of Utah County into court.

    “Judge, here are doctors, lawyers, teachers, entrepreneurs, and more; everyone of them a black-hearted rock chuckers whose hands are stained with the chalky residue of a thousand stones.”

    I just don’t like the fact that it is illegal to provide an energy input that converts an object’s potential energy to kinetic energy. It just seems unnatural.

    I wonder if it’s illegal to throw rocks UP a cliff.

  61. Comment by Not funny | 07.2.2009 | 6:06 pm

    Throwing rocks over a cliff, where you can see the landing, does seem like a dumb law. Sure, you could have said you were trying to find a person below by making a noise, studying gravity, or you weren’t explicitly told of said law……nah.

    Bottom line is, once you get in a courtroom i’m sure it’s not funny at all. You get nervous, slightly scared, and you just want to not be held in contempt before leaving. And then you likely feel like a better citizen when you leave.

  62. Comment by Jeff | 07.2.2009 | 6:07 pm

    Throwing rocks UP a cliff is against the Law of Gravity.

  63. Comment by Lucky Cyclist | 07.2.2009 | 6:39 pm

    First: I just want to say that I did not rat you out.
    Second: I just want to say, that this was the most satisfying moment I have had in awhile. Yes I know that means I have an empty and shallow life. But when I whined about the rock throwing on RAWROD ‘08 I caught hell from the Fatty Fraternity. I never thought it would turn out like this. How invigorating.
    Thank you for that.
    Third: Glad Susan is doing better. Best of luck to both of you.

  64. Comment by leroy | 07.2.2009 | 8:07 pm

    Okay, okay, so Fatty’s middle name is Clyde.

    No big deal.

    Even though this means Dug must be Bonnie.

    I’m sure you two would have been very popular in prison.

  65. Comment by Tibiker | 07.2.2009 | 8:20 pm

    Does this mean you have to register with the trundler offender registry? You know, so people can find out if they live below you.

    P.S. Can I call you “Clyde” from now on?

  66. Comment by KT | 07.2.2009 | 9:49 pm

    Haha, the Livestrong Team Fatty counter up there says that Team San Jose has raised 43 MILLION dollars! Wow!! :) You guys totally ROCK!!!

    I think someone has a decimal in the wrong place. I’m just sayin’.

    Way to go, Austin, you broke 100K!!!

  67. Comment by Barbara | 07.2.2009 | 10:31 pm

    Feel free to throw rocks off my balcony into my backyard anytime…

  68. Comment by Par | 07.2.2009 | 10:50 pm

    My middle name really IS Clyde, although I haven’t really been one since 37 lbs ago.

    BTW, I trundled a rock off a Sierra Nevada cliff at age 14. It broke a beautiful Pondorosa Pine in half. Last time for me, forever!

    My middle name really is Clyde, too. Did you think that was a joke? – FC

  69. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 07.3.2009 | 4:32 am

    Comment by Jeff | 07.2.2009 | 6:07 pm
    Throwing rocks UP a cliff is against the Law of Gravity.”

    Depends how far up…

  70. Comment by mark | 07.3.2009 | 1:49 pm

    What’s the deal with making fun of names? We don’t choose our names any more than we choose our parents. And if I could do that, I’d go back and choose Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter. Or at least I’d have the endurance athlete DNA from DP and CC implanted in my parents’ genetic material rather than the sorry batch I ended up with.

  71. Comment by Ron | 07.3.2009 | 3:25 pm

    Why was it that I got two paragraphs into this when “Alice’s Restaraunt” began looping in my head??

  72. Comment by Charisa | 07.3.2009 | 5:21 pm

    This has got to be the best post ever! I wonder if it is illegal to throw skipping stones in a lake?

  73. Comment by Jerry | 07.3.2009 | 6:04 pm

    Chipmunk problem? I didn’t read all the messages but here’s what I did when they were in my garage. I used a humane trap. You can get them at any hardware store. I captured 16 in total over a two week period before the clan was cleared out. As I captured them I took them to a park about 2 miles away and released them. How humane you say? Maybe. The park is also a favorite haunt of a couple of owls and hawks. I don’t have any chipmunks now and they are in a better place.

  74. Comment by Susan "Backpack45" Alcorn | 07.3.2009 | 10:15 pm

    I don’t throw rocks off cliffs, but is it illegal on all public property?

  75. Comment by Phill | 07.4.2009 | 12:24 am

    You have to laugh! Whilst I agree with fact that you shouldn’t damage anything, you can’t help but wonder how much collective time was spent on the hearing.

    Anyway next time, can you include Rick in any legal prooceedings to see if you can have it officially on record that Rick Sunderlage is not his real name ! Now that would be a challenge.

  76. Comment by Kathleen | 07.4.2009 | 7:42 am

    Just saw a fat cyclist jersey and WIN SUSAN sign in the background of Good Morning America this morning! Thinking of you and Susan today

  77. Comment by Don | 07.4.2009 | 7:53 am

    I’m all for killing the chipmunk… They are currently collapsing my front steps and back brick patio. *I just upset a hornets nest didn’t I?

  78. Comment by Erine | 07.4.2009 | 10:14 am

    Fatty- somewhere, someone has read this and is saying to themselves, “I always knew that he was no good…” This story rocks (no pun intended.)

  79. Comment by Ventura | 07.6.2009 | 9:50 am

    I’ve heard that the best way to get rid of a chipmunk is to throw a rock off a cliff at him.

    Of course now you’ll have to have someone else do that for you.


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.